The 31-year-old The Hills: New Beginnings star may be known for her famous exes, Brody Jenner and Miley Cyrus, but now she wants to control what people say and know about her. Carter had a candid conversation with pal and co-star Whitney Port on Instagram Live on Thursday, where she shared how her life changed after splitting from the singer.
"What happened to me, basically just after Miley and I went our separate ways, I thought, OK, my life's just kinda going back to the way it normally was for me when I'm on my own," Carter explained. "I had no expectations that anyone would give a sh*t about me by myself. I had no plan in place. I didn't think about anything. For example, I was dealing with a lot emotionally at that time, obviously, and I really wasn't going out anywhere. I was just staying home."
But after a friend suggested she go out and visit a friend's bar, she was shocked that paparazzi was taking photos and video of her.
"I just didn't anticipate anything like this happening," she said. "I'm used to it when I'm, like, with Brody or when I was with her, but never when I'm on my own. My mind is just swirling."
She tried to be nice and recalled saying something "that was kinda stupid," only to see headlines the next day about how she was "out on the town, partying with a mystery man just two weeks after her breakup."
"I was just so mortified…The narrative was so not what the actual situation was and that was such a wake up call for me," she said, adding that's when she knew she had to change the perception of herself online.
Carter admitted that she "had never thought about what my narrative even was or what it was going to be. I had always gone with the flow or whatever people say they say, I don't care."
She also shared that she would let her partners take control while in the public.
"In relationships especially, I have always taken a back seat a little bit and sort of trusted the person I'm with to run the show, especially publicly because it's never really been something that I wanted," Carter confessed. "I never really wanted to put myself out there that way."
"Social media is so different because this is a community, on my Instagram, this is the community that I have been communicating with and sharing things with for years now," she continued. "And I built this community over a long time."
"When I'm sharing things on there it feels familiar. It feels like a safe place," she said. "But the bigger picture, the rest of the world, where you don't know everyone, that's like a whole other level and that was not really something that I ever [was prepared to deal with]."
Carter also added later in the chat that she knew that she was "naive" and realized that "you don't get to be so nonchalant about it." Those moments only pushed her to get her "sh*t together," grow up and not let tabloids tell her story.